By David Rogers. June 3, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — As if the parade gods instructed Blowing Rock to “Let the big kids play,” the Oasis Shriners transformed Main Street into a colorful and roaring playground on Saturday, much to the delight of the many children along the parade route.
COVER IMAGE: Now here is a talented clown, juggling down Main Street. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
The Oasis Shriners organization has its origins dating back to 1894, and the philanthropic purposes have been many. Shriners contributed $25,000 to earthquake victims in San Francisco’s 1906 tremblor, as well as $10,000 to Europeans affected by World War I. Those amounts may seem rather small by today’s standards, but when you consider that their modern day equivalent when adjusting for inflation over the years is probably well in excess of a million dollars — each — then the Shriners’ philanthropy takes on even greater significance.
What the Shriners worldwide have become known for, however, began in 1920 when the Shriners Hospitals for Children emerged as the organization’s charitable focus. That work continues today and it seems fitting to celebrate with a parade featuring the sights and sounds of big “kids” marching down Americana’s Main Street as clowns, Keystone Kops, and driving an array of funny vehicles in benefit of children.
With some 5,500 members, the Oasis Shriners, based in Charlotte, NC, is the largest of the 193 chapters of the Shriners in North America. The global organization numbers more than 300,000 members, all supporting a network of 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children. The medical focus is on orthopedic, burn, and spinal care.
It was a good day to relax the noise ordinances in Blowing Rock, all for a great cause.